Are you guys familiar with Natalie Chanin? She's an indie designer and author of several gorgeous crafting books. Her books and her business, Alabama Chanin, focuses on what she calls "slow design." Slow design is all about creating well-made clothing from sustainable, organic fabrics, and her garments feature gorgeous, hand-sewn embroidery and applique. She also does most (possibly all?) of her sewing by hand.
Chanin's focus on durable, heirloom pieces from organic fabrics is right in line with what we're about, so when the publishers offered me a review copy of her new book, I jumped at the chance! This book, like all of her others, is absolutely freaking gorgeous. She lets you in on her techniques and thought processes with clear tutorials, beautiful photos, and helpful diagrams.
The book talks about the materials and tools you need to create beautiful pieces out of fabric, then gets into some of Chanin's signature techniques, like stencils and embroidery and even walks you through making some basic garments.
I know this makes me a total sewing nerd, but my favorite part of this book was Chapter 3 - Basic Stitches. Even if you think you're a hand-sewing champ, I bet you'll pick up a few handy tips to make your stitch work stronger and more professional-looking.
I highly recommend Alabama Studio Sewing + Design whether you're a beginning seamster or have years of experience with sewing. The book is full of knowledge and inspiration for a crafter at any sewing level.